RFI, RFP, RFQ, or the beginning of the end...
For those new to the lingo as I am, RFI stands for Request for Information. So knowing what it stands for, what does it mean? An RFI would be used when you are looking for information for a solution to a problem or need. On June 14, 2019 Kent State released an RFI, requesting information in regards to the potential outsourcing of operations of the Ice Arena. This RFI would have been posted to the Procurement page of the university website, and potentially through a public notice (at this given time I cannot in good faith prove or disprove this action) to reach potential strategic partners to determine the feasibility of outsourcing the management of the ice arena. This RFI can be viewed by following the link at the bottom of this blog post. If you do read this RFI, it can look overwhelming, the most useful section which outlines all the information is section 6 which can be found beginning on page 16. It is unknown by myself if there were responses to this RFI from strategic partners. Considering that the management of the rink is still under rec services, they either did not receive responses or perhaps did not like what they heard. I will be doing a records request in regards to this RFI. Once I have any pertinent information, this post will have an update.
On March 5, 2021, nearly 3 months prior to the publication of their classified ad to repurpose the rec rink, KSU released an RFP (Request for Proposal) for "proposals for a contractor to provide a fully operational portable outdoor ice rink, installation and takedown, rental skates, modular hand-rail system, and all associated equipment and materials on Erie Street in downtown Kent, Ohio, between the Kent State Hotel and the PARTA Parking Ramp.". The important things to note about this portable rink are:
-size is 50ftx70ft (the current rec rink is 3 times the length, 150ftx80ft)
-It will only be in operation from November through February
On June 2, 2021, Kent State posted a classified ad in the Record Courier for an RFQ (request for qualifications) seeking bids on a job to begin the renovation and expansion of the rec rink with work to begin in August of 2021. In this RFQ, the estimated project cost is 6,500,000.00. As with the other two documents, this link will also be attached to the bottom of this blog post.
When you take a look at these three documents, you can see that for some time Kent State was looking into alternative management options for the ice arena, placing a portable ice rink in downtown Kent, and removing the existing recreation rink at the ice arena without so much as a word to the local community. Since beginning my change.org petition, I have tried to access the classified ad through the Record Courier, only to find that the ad no longer exists. I must say that I am highly disappointed in the apparent lack of communication from the university in terms of this project. Kent State had to realize that this would have a catastrophic impact on the local youth and the local community, and carried on anyway with their "we don't care about the community" attitude.
- you will have to download the bid related documents
Link to the award letter for the RFP (this was awarding the job to the vendor): https://www-s3-live.kent.edu/s3fs-root/s3fs-public/file/RFP%201756%20Portable%20Ice%20Rink.pdf